4 Project Management Anti-Patterns

Published on Jan 23rd, 2012 by

4 Project Management Anti-Patterns

Anti-patterns are – in a way – lessons in recognizing what approaches to a given situation are ineffective or even counter productive. I look at them as the generic lessons-learned of life that are worth noting down and foremost worth sharing.

Last weekend I gave a presentation at Barcamp VRT 2012 in Brussels, hoping to help out other online project managers and everyone who was interested in hearing me out with some project management anti-pattern expert advice.

I talked about 4 anti-patterns I discovered based on my notes.

  1. Fighting Visual Priority
  2. Black Hole Planning
  3. Quality Cover-up (aka Is That a Triangle in Your Pants?)
  4. Delegation without Authority

Please, check out the slides, I’m curious to see what you think …

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The Cost of Turnover

Published on Jan 12th, 2012 by

The Cost of Turnover

With specialist profiles the cost of turnover is almost always vastly underestimated. Keeping the good people on board and motivated is really important.

I’ve had projects where the main player in my project quit, got transferred or even was fired right under my nose without me being consulted. All situations caused irrecoverable damage, just by neglecting the value of that one person. Things like this happen, you’ll find a solution but the shininess of your project will be a distant memory.

Look at this type of situations as a risk, it’s what’s often called the truck number, or more respectfully, the lottery number for a certain key role in a project. The lower the number, the higher the risk. Should anyone in that key role get run over by a truck or win the lottery, they’d be gone and the project would be stuck in a rut.

Should you be dealing with this kind of risk, look into Brook’s law which says that adding people to a late project makes it only later, the same goes for finding replacements and the resulting team dynamics are the same.

Some time ago I wrote an article on project manager switching, which often is a project’s death sentence (or at least a budget death sentence) if not done properly: Neglected Truths in a Project Hand Over.

I found this great list of the cost that a lost employee will bring along:

  • Time for your existing employees to cover work in the interim
  • Time to to find a replacement
  • Money  to find a replacement
  • Money to train the replacement
  • Loss of knowlegde (imho the most overlooked cost in IT)
  • Stress and strain on an existing team

Here’s the infographic from mindflash.com with other great clues, showing the signs your rockstar employee might be looking for a new job,  nicely presented stuff, have a look …

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24 Essential Website Project Analysis Questions

Published on Dec 30th, 2011 by

24 Essential Website Project Analysis Questions

This article is about starting out a website project and asking the most effective questions. When you’re doing anything online these days, there are a lot of online channels to consider (websites, apps, social platforms, newsletters, …), the website still remains one of the central ingredients for doing anything online.

I’m going to try to be as complete as possible with the least amount of questions (4 max per topic) and work the way up from basic IT to content and purpose of the website.

It’s easy to cover a lot of ground like this in a short time. These questions are directed at whoever has the senior user role in the project, in many cases that role can be filled in by the business.

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A Document Template Checklist

Published on Dec 23rd, 2011 by

A Document Template Checklist

When you’re streamlining a recurring  activity, templates are a great way of standardizing document layout and saving time. They’re also a very efficient way to confuse and bug people while looking really official for no particular reason … like the TPS reports from Office Space for instance.

The first thing I do is look for context when I’m asked to do a review, because people may ask for a document template but what they actually want is a business process model to be put in place. They hope the template will be clear enough to anyone to illustrate all the activity that surrounds it, this happens a lot.

A template helps but by itself it’s a very lousy way to communicate what needs to be done. A template is a tool, a work document that is easy to find and easy to use.

These are practical tips I give and the questions I ask people who want to create (hopefully not yet another) document template …

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Bizcamp Belgium

Published on Dec 4th, 2011 by

Bizcamp Belgium

I went to Bizcamp Belgium today, loved it. This is the definition of the event from their website:

Bizcamp is an unconference that is organized by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, that is based on the idea of Barcamp.

Barcamps are unconferences where you go to network, learn and share knowledge. These events are free to go to but you’re expected to help out or give a presentation. Sales pitches are out of the question though, you can’t just come and advertise what you sell or do.

Quite a vehemently crowd, I must say, people talking about taking risks, creating value and finding the best way to get a business thriving. Met with a few other project managers too, and that wasn’t surprising. In the end, every phase of growing a business is a project.

I’ll share my take-aways after, saying thanks.

Thanks organisation:

emenka.be (@tjorvend), westartup.eu (@leoexter), essentialist.be,

tamaragielen.com (@tamaragielen), zeropoint.it.

And sponsors:

zenito.bebardoffice.comThe Egg.

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Project Management Under NDA Checklist

Published on Apr 4th, 2011 by

Project Management Under NDA Checklist

So there I was, on the phone with my CEO at 11 p.m. trying to get away from the noise of a very loud party on a Friday night. Someone in my team accidentally published a drawing in her on-line portfolio. The design was still under an ill-defined but active NDA and the client was getting ready to sue.

I had to borrow the laptop of the party host and spent the rest of the night in the kitchen, making calls, waking people up and getting sober against my will. Disaster recovery doesn’t mix well with cocktails, I can promise you that much.

non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is pretty common right?  Hope it never bites you like it did me. Here’s my checklist and some common NDA pitfalls. No legal stuff, I promise!

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Blink Helps You Make Better Decisions

Published on Mar 22nd, 2011 by

Blink Helps You Make Better Decisions

Enjoy a good read and want a leg up in actively developing an instinct for making good decisions? Then you’ll love this book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
by Malcolm Gladwell.

These are my take-aways from the book

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Illustrated Plan for a Web Design Project

Published on Mar 18th, 2011 by

Illustrated Plan for a Web Design Project

It’s admirable how this illustration of the average web design project plan condenses the essentials. It shows the common sequence, level of involvement, milestones, priorities and phases of all in one infographic. A source of inspiration and a good reference to base a template on.

Read on for my comments and the full size plan.

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